The End and Beyond - Part 9

2017 had been an exciting year with brand new episodes, premiere events and live tours. 2018 would bring its own excitement, but also some disappointment for fans.

On 1/25/18 the Mads performed The Tingler at Alamo Drafthouse in NYC. That night’s show featured an appearance by Kim Cattrall herself introducing the movie for her old friends Frank and Trace.

MST3k DVD VII was rereleased on 2/13. The episodes in this set were Hercules Unchained (408), Hercules Against the Moon Men (410), Prince of Space (816) and the Killer Shrews (407). The set also included the bonus shorts Assignment: Venezuela, Century 21 Calling and A Case of Spring Fever.

Mike, Kevin and Bill traveled to the UK for a 2/15 performance of RiffTrax Live at the Prince Charles Cinema in London. They riffed Plan 9 From Outer Space and Samurai Cop plus the short The Calendar: How To Use It. The on 2/23 they kicked off their next Kickstarter for their new US live shows of the old MST favorite Space Mutiny and the cheesy sci-fi film Krull.

 

The much anticipated first series of MST3K trading cards began shipping in March 2018. Collectors and fans were pleased to see many extras, such as 3D cards, metal cards, relic cards (small swatches of the actual costumes worn by Mike and Dr F) and sketch cards by many artists. As you can see by the checklist there were many interesting cards and subsets.

       

There were a couple interesting event that both occurred on 3/15. First, Shout! Factory and China-based Ace Film HK Company Limited (ACE) announced they had acquired the New Horizons Picture library, encompassing 270 Roger Corman films from Roger and Julie Corman. This gave MSTies hope that some of the episodes that fans thought may never become available just passed a major obstacle. (Almost immediately though Corman’s sons sued to prevent the sale on 4/2.) Next, the 44th Annual Saturn Awards nominations come out that included MST3K The Return for Best Presentation on Television. (At the ceremony on 6/27 they lost to Twin Peaks: The Return.)

 

On 3/28 there was another MST3K related question on the popular game show Jeopardy. And just because I like it, here is also a sign from an AMC dine-in theater that someone shared with us on-line. (Again, if someone knows where this is from or who the artist was please let me know so I can give them credit.)

 

Also, on 3/28 the LEGO Satellite of Love campaign hit the required 10,000 supporters. (Fans were very disappointed that the set was never put into production by LEGO).

   

Frank and Trace kick off their 2018 Mads Are Back live tour on 4/13 at the Alamo Drafthosue in Omaha, NE.

On 4/17 the DVD and Blu-Ray versions of the complete MST3K Season 11 were released. The wonderful documentary, We Brought Back MST3K, was included with over an hour of interviews, developmental art and behind the scenes footage.

     

     

Also, on 4/17 there was a special signing at Dark Delicacies in Burbank, CA. Hampton, Patton, Rebecca and Jonah, along with a few others, signed copies of a special poster created for the event by artist Alden Casserly.

 

Blood Hook, the horror-comedy film created by Jim Mallon, came out on Blu-ray/ DVD on 5/1 by Vinegar Productions. The first 1000 copes ordered came in a special slipcover. Also included was Hook, Line and Sinker, an interview with director Jim Mallon.

     

The Mads travelled to England to appear at Sci-Fi London on 5/5 to riff Glen or Glenda as part of their annual film festival.

     

The Pilot for the Adult Swim series Tigtone aired 5/13. (The original “pre-pilot” or “precursor” The Begun of Tigtone aired back on 5/10/2014.) It includes voice work by Bill Corbett, as the voice of the king, and Trace Beaulieu, as the voice of Command-Or Mathis.

 

The MST3k DVD Singles Collection came out on 5/22. This set was made up of episodes that had originally been released individual by Rhino. Episodes include The Crawling Hand (106), The Hellcats (209), Santa Claus Conquers the Martians (321), Eegah (506), I Accuse My Parents (507) and Shorts Volume 3. Extras include new introduction by Joel, documentaries Man on Poverty Row: The Films of Sam Newfield and Don’t Knock the Stock (A portrait of the director of The Crawling Hand) and, finally, the MST3K Hour wraps. By including the MST3K Hour wraps for I Accuse My Parents fans now have copies of all 30 episodes that were used for that series. (Many fans, including myself, had been working for years to gather complete copies of the wraps.)

 

MSTies received the announcement on 6/2 from Netflix that season 12 would only consist of six episodes. The rumor mill immediately jumped into full gear discussing everything from the is was end of the show to this is exactly what Netflix always does and could mean they want the show to last for years. Only time would tell at this point. We did hear that filming of the new season would begin on 6/4.

The next RiffTrax Live! was performed at the Belcourt Theater in Nashville on 6/14. This time the featured riff was the old MST3K favorite Space Mutiny plus the short The Magic Shop.

     

Felicia Day hosted a charity event on 6/30/18 is support of RAICES (Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services) a group in Texas trying to help the recent wave of immigrant families being separated at the border. The Twitch #KeepFamiliesTogether livestream ran for 12 hours with an initial goal to raise $12,000. There was gaming, singing, Dancing for Donations and proceeds from Love Has No Borders t-shirts. There were dozens of gifts given out as the pledge drive progressed. An MST3K snake gun from the recent Watch Out for Snakes tour was given out. Also, actors Alan Tudyk and Nathan Fillion raided their closets for even more gifts. Many special guests showed up from Supernatural and the Guild plus folks like Ryon Day (Felicia’s brother), Grant Imahara, Negaoryx, Joss Whedon and Seth Green. Since it was just a couple days after Felicia’s birthday a special cake was presented to her. However, only after she agreed to smash her face into the cake for a large donation, she found out it was being held upright with a wooden dowel inside, which went directly up her nose. After a little medical attention, she continued on and eventually raised over $250,000 from donations, sales and subscriptions. (I made a couple donations during the event and one of the pictures below shows the moment one was acknowledged on screen.)

     

     

 

Kicking off this year’s San Diego Comic Con there was a comic book signing at the Dark Horse Comics booth on 7/18. Felicia Day, artist Todd Nauck and writer Mike Heisler signed ashcan copies of the new MST3K comic and release poster. (Ashcan comics are traditionally free copies that in the past were meant to be read and thrown away, hence “ashcan.”)

       

Over the next few days of the con from 7/19-23 MST events included signings of a The Bots Go to the Con poster with Felicia and Steve Vance and a version of the game show The Great Debate with Felicia and other celebrities like Adam Savage, John Barrowman and Aisha Taylor. MST cosplayers were everywhere and there was new merchandise such as t-shirts and coaster sets.

       

     

On 7/25 Mary Jo started a new lifetime vlog called Ruth Larson Lives Life! A Lifestyle Vlog for Lifestyling! It focused on topics related to Ruth’s take on, well, lifestyling. On 7/27 Jonah in his Manos costume helped support some local protesters. (Jonah has been wearing this robe since at least 2011, but I’m not completely sure when or where this was taken so if anyone can help find the original post, I would appreciate it.)

 

Frank released his next book Codename DOUCHEBAG on 8/10.

On 8/17 the MST shadowrama made an appearance in the comic Safe Havens by cartoonist Bill Holbrook.

8/23 saw the RiffTrax Live! version of Krull performed at the Belcourt Theater in Nashville. There was also a commemorative art print made available (numbered limited edition of 500).

       

 

A few days later, on 8/29. RiffTrax issued the first of a series of commemorative collector coins created specifically for their DripTrax subscribers from the Kickstarter from December 2017. This one featured a founding father styled Mike Nelson.

The MST3K Trading Card Series 2 Kickstarter began 8/31 and ran through 10/1.

An MST-rich Dragon Con kicked off in Atlanta on 8/31 with a Return to the Satellite of Love panel with most of the new cast in attendance followed later that day with the panel the Puppetry of MST3K with Joel, Grant and Tim. The traditional parade took place on 9/1 with a large contingent of MSTies followed by a 30th Anniversary panel with a live reading of the new ashcan comic. Some impressive battle bot versions of Tom and Crow, sponsored by Totino’s Pizza Rolls, showed up. Later than evening was a super-secret pop-up party at Space2 to celebrate the release of the new comics. Joel and Jonah mingled with the crowd and giant prints of the comic covered the walls. Finally, on 9/2 MST3K Night V was held with a MST double feature and costume contest. (For some reason this was the second year in a row the event used the Roman numeral V.)

       

       

   

The long awaited first issue of the Mystery Science Theater 3000 comics from Dark Horse were released on 9/12. There were six issues scheduled to be released about one per month. Each issue would feature cover art by Todd Nauck and a variant cover by Steve Vance (the same artist that creates the movie poster inserts in the MST DVD sets). Vance’s cover this time also paid homage to the 1962 comic Johnny Jason Teen Reporter.

   

MST3K DVD Lost and Found set came out on 9/25. This set was made up of all the episodes that were left over from previous releases. Episodes included are The Crawling Eye (101), Mad Monster (103), Manhunt in Space (413), The Beatniks (415), Blood Waters of Dr Z (1005) and Final Justice (1008). All of the extras were the same as with the original releases of these episodes.

Also, on 9/25 we heard an announcement that season 12 would premiere on Thanksgiving Day. Fans immediately begin to wonder if this would be in place of the traditional Turkey Day marathon. Fans would hear some rumors but wouldn’t know the entire plan for sure until 11/7.

The MST3K 30th Anniversary Live Tour kicked off on 10/9/18 at the State Theater in Portland, OR. The movies riffed this year were The Brain, a 1988 Canadian horror/ Sci-fi movie and Deathstalker II, a 1987 fantasy-adventure. Joel and Jonah would riff side by side on this tour and would be joined by Tim Ryder as Tom, Grant Baciocco as Crow, Rebecca as Gypsy/ Synthia and Deanna Rooney as Dr Donna St Phibes. (Deanna is Jonah’s real-life wife.) I was able to see the double feature at the Royal Oak Music Theater with my nephew and his wife on 10/28. The tour ended 11/17 at the State Theater in Minneapolis. At this last show the two battle bots showed up on stage. One other thing I would like to add, for this tour artist Gary Glover created an amazing series of fantasy movie posters with MST3K themes. Included here are a couple examples of Gary’s work.

         

       

The new RiffTrax: The Walking Shorts DVD came out on 10/12. It was the first shorts compilation to be put on DVD since 6/23/2013.

MST3K comic number 2 was available beginning 10/24. Again, there were alternative covers by Nauck and Vance.

 

On 11/7 we learned that there would be a six-episode Turkey Day on Sunday 11/18 to keep up the annual tradition and not interfere with the release of the new season 12 episodes on Thanksgiving Day.

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Good Eats: Reloaded - The Cheese Also Melts (season 1, episode 5) debuted on the Cooking Channel on 11/12. The Reloaded series would take an old episode of Good Eats and update it with new and/ or improved cooking methods. During the original episode, from season 2 back in 2000, Alton Brown, a long time MSTie, included a scene using what he called the Mystery Food Science Theater 3000. In the Reload edition there was a new graphic letting us know that this is indeed a "goof" on MST3K.

   

Also, on 11/12 the official trailer for Season 12 debuted and confirmed that all six of the new episodes would be released on Thanksgiving Day. Fans would be subjected to the experiment along with Jonah and the bots to attempt to watch the entire 12-hour marathon, which was referred to as The Gauntlet.

   

On 11/17 the mayor of Minneapolis, Jacob Frey, proclaims that 11/22/18 would officially be Mystery Science Theater 3000 Day in honor of its 30 years of hilarity. This was indeed a very nice gesture, but actually did not offer any tangible benefits. Not even a reserved parking space downtown.

The Sunday before Thanksgiving, 11/18, saw this years Turkey Day marathon hosted by Joel and Jonah. The episodes included Moon Zero Two, Warrior of the Lost World, Bloodlust!, Samson vv. the Vampire Women, Laserblast and Cry Wilderness. This was a nice assortment of shows covering seasons 1 through 11 and Cry Wilderness had already become a fan favorite. There would be flashback videos going back to the original Turkey Day in 1991 and would wrap up with some clips prepping us for the new marathon about to be seen in a few days.

     

 

New York Times writer Simon Abrams presented an interview with Joel and Jonah on 11/20 discussing the 30th anniversary of MST33K.

 

On 11/21 a list of all of the Kickstarter backers was made available to say thank you to everyone that had helped support another season. (Not too surprisingly, my name was on the list.)

Then on 11/22, Thanksgiving Day, the entire new season 12 of MST3K dropped on Netflix. The Gauntlet was on. The episodes were Mac and Me, Atlantic Rim (from 2013, this is the most recent film ever riffed by MST), Lords of the Deep, The Day Time Ended, Killer Fish and Ator the Fighting Eagle. Some fans tried to watch the entire season in one day while other took a more leisurely pace, but reviews were once again excellent for the new shows.

           

MST3K DVD set VIII was released on 11/27 and included episodes Hobgoblins (907), The Phantom Planet (902), Monster A-Go-Go (421) and The Dead Talk Back (603). Three documentaries were included, Hobgoblins Revisited, Myron Natwick Talks Back and Bill Rebane Speaks.

The Center for Puppetry Arts in Atlanta, GA announced on 12/3 that they were auctioning off a one-of-a-kind, fully functioning, golden Tom Servo signed by Joel, Jonah, Felicia, Rebecca, Tim and Grant. Proceeds would go to the museum and help pay for a new display being prepared for Tom and Crow themselves. The goal was set at $10,000 and the auction ended 1/19/19 at $12,875.18.

AS an early Christmas present to MST bot builders, on 12/24 long time MSTie and bot building guru Bob Bukowski posted in the Bot Builders Forum that after searching since 1992 he had finally discovered the source of the engine block that is mounted on Tom Servo's chest. All we had ever heard is that it was from a model kit and molds of it had been used to create Servos for years. It turned out to be part of a Dune Buggy toy sold by Talbot Toys in 1986. Thanks for your hard work and dedication to finally uncover this treasure.

   

MST3K Comic #3 was released by Dark Horse on 1/9/2019. Although originally this was scheduled to come out on 11/28/18 they found that putting out a new comic approximately every month wasn’t feasible. They did have them all released by May 2019. Again, there were covers by Todd Nauck and Steve Vance.

 

Season one of the TV series Tigtone finally premiered on Adult Swim on 1/13. Episode one was Tigtone and His Fellowship Of. Bill Corbett appeared as the King in five of the eleven episodes and Trace appeared in five episodes as Command-Or Mathis, Crystal God 2 and Amo-Thedious. They were not always in the same episodes.

   

In January 2019 series 2 of the MST3K Trading Cards began being shipped. This series focused on the Mike Nelson year, but it did include a KTMA subset and other fun things, such as glow in the dark cards.

     

MST3K DVD set IX was reissued on 1/15 and included episodes Women of the Prehistoric Planet (104), Wilds Rebels (207), The Sinister Urge (613) and The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies (812). Bonus features included and introduction to 104 by actress Irene Tsu, documentaries They Kill for Kicks: The Making of Wild Rebels, Ed Wood: Taming the Sinister Urge and an introduction to that movie by actor Conrad Brooks.

This year’s San Francisco Sketchfest included a whole bunch of MST-related content. The Mads Are Back performed on 1/18 and them on 1/20 Kevin, Bill, Mary Jo, Bridget, Trace and Frank joined forces with Cole Stratton, Janet Varney, John Hodgman and Paul F. Tompkins for RiffTrax: Day of the Shorts at the Castro Theater. Bill, Kevin, Conor Lastowka, Tompkins and “Weird Al” Yankovic also perform Audible Presents: The Pole Vault Championship of the Entire Universe.

 

Also, on 1/20 a nice shiny Crow and Tom debuted at the Center for Puppetry Arts in Atlanta, GA. Joel was in attendance and presented a powerpoint about his lifelong love of ventriloquism. There was a campaign earlier in the year to raise $10,000 towards the display. A special gold Servo signed by the cast was also auctioned off. They ended up raising over $12,000.

   

   

When the new Horror Host Hall of Fame ballot came out on 1/25 it included Michael J. Nelson for his time as host of MST3K. Mike would be elected and included in the class of 2020 (the enshrinement event was cancelled due to COVID-19). (Joel, Trace and Josh had previously been elected in the class of 2015.)

MST3K comic #4 from Dark Horse came out on 2/6, again with the Nauck/ Vance covers. (Origianl release had been scheduled for 12/12/18.)

 

The February 2019 issue of National Geographic featured an article about Silicon Valley. Included in the article was a picture of a person working on a laptop computer, which has a shadowrama sticker on it.

   

The Kickstarter for the 2019 RiffTrax Live season kicked off on 2/19. Once again it easily reached its goal and funded three shows for the year.

Weezer released their Black album on 2/21 which featured a photo of the band casting familiar looking shadows on the wall. (Acknowledged MSTie and lead singer Rivers Coumo had also included an MST tribute on the bands Green album back in 2001.)

 

3/17 saw the release of Jonah Ray’s album You Can't Call Me Al - Bandcamp version of rough mixes.

MST3D DVD set X.2 came out on 3/19 with the episodes The Giant Gila Monster (402), Swamp Diamonds (503), Teen_Age Strangler (514) and The Giant Spider Invasion (810). (Remember that the set is called X.2 because the original X had been released with Godzilla vs the Megalon (212) and almost immediately had to be pulled for rights issues). Extras included the documentary Spiderman: Looking Back with Bill Rebane, an interview and two bonus songs from actor Don Sullivan from Giant Gila Monster, 10.2 upgrades featuring Joel, Frank and Trace, a photo gallery, Poopie! II and the Video Jukebox Vol. 1.

The fifth MST3K comic from Dark Horse came out on 3/20 with Nauck and Vance covers. (The original release date had been planned for 1/9/19.)

 

The Mads appeared at Sleeping Giant Fest at the Sun-Ray Cinema in Jacksonville, FL on 3/30. The performed a show called The Mads vs La La Land where they riffed the 2016 Academy Award winning romantic comedy.

On 4/8 Josh announced that he would be appearing in the movie The Fiddling Horse to be released later in 2019. He would also be recording his first stand-up comedy album 4/10-11 at the Acme Comedy Company in Minneapolis, MN.

In a change of routine RiffTrax decided to tape their live shows over two consecutive evenings. On 4/17 RiffTrax taped their live show of Star Raiders that would be broadcast to theaters on 6/6/19. Then on 4/18 they performed RiffTrax Live! Octoman, plus short McGruff's Drug Alert. Both shows were at the Belcourt Theater in Nashville. There was also a commemorative art print made available (numbered limited edition of 500).

     

 

On 4/20 Joel joined in at the finale of Critical Role’s The Legend of Vox Machina Kickstarter end party. Critical Role took the crown from MST3K for highest pledged donations for a TV show when they ended up with an amazing $11.3 million. Joel warned about the pitfalls of backer rewards. For example, "the books will kill you because you want them to be perfect." (MSTies were still waiting for the long-promised coffee table book reward from MST’s 2015 Kickstarter.)

   

Joel and Mary Jo hosted a four-day event at the Greenwich Odeum in Greenwich, CT from 4/25-28 called the Mystery Science Expo 3000 or An Evening with Mary Joel. It included screenings of a total of six MST episodes, a meet and greet, a creativity workshop and even breakfast with Joel and Mary Jo. The final episode screened would be a world premiere of Mac and Me. Illustrator Gary Glover joined in for some of the festivities as well.

         

Also, on 4/25 Frank's book Reform School Cinderella was released.

MST3K: The PodComic at Flappers Comedy Club, Burbank, CA on 5/14. This was a live reading of one of the Dark Horse comics by a cast that included Joel, Jonah, Felicia, Rebecca and members of Critical Role (the show that had just beaten MST3K's Kickstarter funding record a month earlier).

   

On 5/16 Felicia appeared on the Netflix reality cooking show Nailed It!

   

On 5/28 we learned that Frank had helped write for the movie Funny You Never Knew, about the careers of comedians Martha Raye, George Gobel and Imogen Coca. The movie was hosted by Fred Willard and Kevin Pollack.

The 6th and final planned edition of the MST3K comics was released by Dark Horse on 5/29. There were of course alternate covers by Todd Nauck and Steve Vance. (This edition was originally scheduled for release on 3/13.)

 

On 5/31 Joel announced this year’s live tour would be called The Great Cheesy Movie Circus and would begin in September 2019. Joel also included that this would be his last live tour. He would be continuing on with the show but would not be performing live anymore. Fans obviously had mixed emotions. We were happy to hear of the upcoming tour, but disappointed to hear that there would be an end of an era when the tour was complete.


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